Michael's Italian Restaurant's kitchen cupboards are bare. Their sparseness doesn't stem from a food shortage, but from the eatery's devotion to fresh ingredients. To wit: chefs deftly knead fresh batches of homemade pizza dough daily, and they coat the disks with ladles of from-scratch pizza sauce. They simmer organic beef with fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and they fly in fresh fish from Chicago each morning before enhancing the fillets with white wine lemon sauce. In addition to traditional dishes, they've added contemporary flourishes to the menu such as gluten-free pizzas and pastas and meatballs equipped with 4G technology. Regardless of which entree guests select from the expansive menu, knowledgeable servers are always on hand to suggest pairings from the eatery's vast wine list.
Those looking to fill their daily quota of sandwiches can bathe watery mouths in a classic meatball sandwich ($5.99), a thinly sliced Italian beef dipped in a juicy au jus ($5.99), or a Chicago-style hot dog ($2.99, $3.99 for jumbo) stacked with all the fixings including vine-ripened tomatoes. Bobanna's Pizzeria also offers a wide variety of appetizers and Mexican comestibles such as tacos ($3.49–$4.09 for three) and burritos ($3.99–$4.59).
The eponymous owner of Sal's Pizza is nearly always on hand to greet customers and oversee the creation of his Italian-inspired dishes. Under his watchful gaze, cooks sprinkle toppings on bubbling thin-crust and Chicago-style pizzas or sauté veal and chicken in wine sauce. And if diners are lucky, they can behold one of Sal's ovens giving birth to hearty baked pasta, a thick Italian-style sub, or a tiny baby oven that tries to bake everything it sees.:m]]
Becky’s Blissful Bakery’s confectionists eschew high-fructose corn syrup or preservatives, instead, they handcraft most batches of gluten-free caramels from organic ingredients—including some from other local merchants. Along with the original vanilla-caramel recipe, flavors such as masala chai tea from Rishi Tea or extra-special bitter beer from Lakefront Brewery infuse the treats with added complexity. Rather than protecting each caramel by wrapping it in peanut butter, Becky’s bakers swaddle the morsels in wax paper before arranging them in packages accented with silver bows.
A kaleidoscopic range of colorful packages dots the shelves at A Gluten Free Frenzy, bearing labels from more than 300 brands including Udi’s, Pacific Natural Foods, and The Cravings Place. The knowledgeable staff helps visitors navigate an array of products, including nonperishables and frozen foods, all designed to add variety to shoppers' gluten-free meals. The expanding selection includes innovative wheat replacements such as rice, tapioca, potato, quinoa, teff, and sorghum. Alongside beers, varied frozen breads, granolas, and baking mixes beg to be included in meals. A Gluten Free Frenzy's café fills with chatter fueled by muffins, cupcakes, sandwiches, and pizzas, which can be crafted without the traditional layer of dairy products and pictures from the chef’s vacation.
Noodles & Company's cooks unite a diverse menu of Asian, Mediterranean, and American fare with the common thread of the noble noodle. The friendly cooks speedily serve each order, which deliciously bridges the gap between convenience and fine dining with casual fare and a strictly enforced dress code of flip-flops and tuxedos.